I still can't believe it, but I sent Nate off to church camp for 4 nights by himself. When I say "by himself" I mean no one else from our family is there. Ava had a previous engagement, and Lucas was too young. Nate seems too young, too! My little 7 year old is "on his own" to remember things like brushing his teeth, changing his clothes each day, eating enough food, etc. Well, I do know both of the adult counselors that are in charge of his cabin. I guess they might be reminding all those little first grade boys about stuff like that...who knows!
Some moms I know are there as counselors and they have been sweet to send pictures now and then with updates about what Nate's doing. It's hard to have zero contact with my little one for 4 days. But I know he is having a great time, and I'm glad he gets to have this experience. He's doing fun things like swimming, canoeing, fishing, mini-golf, and the climbing wall and hopefully getting to experience God in new exciting ways, too.
Our household is very different with Nate gone. The biggest thing is that Lucas is scared to death to go to sleep at night. It didn't dawn on me this was going to be a problem, but apparently when you've spent your entire 5 1/2 years of life sharing a room, being alone at night doesn't sit well. He is genuinely terrified.
I've also noticed how much easier it is to take care of 2 kids instead of 3. I'm not ready to give one away or anything, but man, it is way less work with just 1 less child. Even the simplest things like getting dinner onto 4 plates instead of 5 is noticeably easier. Though I do keep having panic attacks as we leave stores thinking I've left one behind.
Ava and Lucas are having some sweet bonding time. It's weird for Cody and me to think about how when we were growing up we both had one younger brother the same age difference as between Ava and Lucas. There was no "Nate" in our sibling life. 4 years is a pretty big age gap, a gap that is usually bridged in many ways by Nate. Seeing the two of them interact without the middle child is very different and in some ways reminiscent to us of our childhood.
One thing I know for sure, we will all be glad to have Nate home again soon. Lucas has mentioned being lonely a few times and our family just isn't the same without him!